Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times | Terms of Service | Privacy Policy

Celebrating the land of the free

People watch the July 4 fireworks show at La Crescenta Elementary School
(Tim Berger)

The La Crescenta Fireworks Assn. hosted their fifth annual fireworks show on Monday at La Crescenta Elementary School.

Jean Maluccio, the secretary for the association, said that up to 5,000 people were expected to attend. Food trucks sold tacos, Indian fare, hot dogs and slushies in the stifling 90-degree heat in the late afternoon. Many families arrived at 4 p.m. when the gates opened, found a piece of grass and pitched an umbrella for shade. The carnival rides were also in full operation.

Salvador Ambriz and his wife Yadira Ambriz of Sun Valley brought their three children and a picnic to the event after learning about it online. When they learned that the show was close to home and that the tickets were inexpensive at $5 each, they decided against driving to Century City to for a fireworks show as had been their tradition.

“It’s our first time here,” Yadira said. “Most other places were sold out.”


At sunset, between 400 to 500 fireworks were slated to go off to music in the span of 24 minutes from Crescenta Valley High School’s softball field. “It’s a long show, the best in the area,” said Mike Shaar, president of the fireworks association.

Twelve volunteers with the association began coordinating the event in January. Maluccio said she hoped the event would raise at least $30,000 to pay for the show. “People really do appreciate the fireworks show even if they’re watching from their home.”

Vice President of the association, Leslie Lesh, approached Montrose resident and U.S. Captain Scott Mekelburg and logistics officer with the 1-185th Amor Battalion in San Bernardino to speak to everyone in attendance about the holiday minutes before the fireworks would shoot into the sky.

Mekelburg served as an infantry marine who was deployed to Iraq twice in Operation Iraqi Freedom. He has served in the California Army National Guard for the past 23 years.


“He’s going to remind people about why we’re actually celebrating the Fourth of July and inspire them, not just because of the fireworks but why he’s here and why we get to sit on the grass, look up at the sky and enjoy being with our families,” Lesh said.